We watched the Eagles lose to the Giants. Here’s what we saw:
Pass Offense: B-
Carson Wentz began the game about as poorly as he possibly could have, throwing two hideous interceptions in the first six minutes. The throws were high and way off target. They looked like the kinds of throws quarterbacks make when they’re in way over their head.
But then Wentz did something impressive: he shrugged the picks off and made a bunch of very good throws for the rest of the game. His receivers didn’t drop many passes, which was a breath of fresh air. Bryce Treggs showed he has field-stretching abilities on a 55-yard catch in the second quarter, Nelson Agholor made something happen, and Zach Ertz had his best game of the year by a wide margin.
Without that brutal first six minutes, Wentz would’ve had one of his most impressive games of the year. He settled in, looked comfortable, and played extremely efficient football the rest of the way. It comes in a loss, but everything the Eagles showed in the air should make fans excited for the second half of the season.
Run Offense: C+
Ryan Mathews just can’t seem to get things going. Darren Sproles sure can, but he’s old and can’t sustain the kind of workload he’s seen so far this season. The Eagles finished with 25 rushes for 96 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, yet another passable if not exceptional outing. They failed to pick up first downs on two crucial fourth downs, both of which saw the run game get stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage.
With no Lane Johnson and Allen Barbre, the lackluster performance isn’t terribly surprising, but the player usage is. Wendell Smallwood ran once for 19 yards, and Doug Pederson never used him again, despite Smallwood having the second-most rushing yards of any Eagle deep into the fourth quarter.
Why Pederson has repeatedly tried to shoehorn Mathews into the offensive game plan when he simply doesn’t have it going is beyond me, but he needs to use Smallwood more often when the rookie is clearly capable of contributing.
Pass Defense: C+
Nolan Carroll’s interception in the fourth quarter was tremendously impressive, as was Jordan Hicks’ big pick late. Outside of those plays, however, the Eagles had no answers for Eli Manning and the Giants’ passing game, who notched four touchdown passes and for the most part looked entirely too comfortable in the pocket.
Leodis McKelvin was torched many, many times. Rodney McLeod took a bad angle on the Giants’ first touchdown. Carroll committed a very obvious pass interference en route to another Giants touchdown. Jalen Mills didn’t look particularly good or bad, just sort of blah. The secondary needs to tighten up in a big way if the Eagles want to be competitive moving forward, especially with the teams they’re about to face.
Run Defense: B+
The Eagles kept the Giants’ running backs to 11 yards on nine carries in the first half. They found more success in the second half, but not nearly enough to be a threat, finishing the game with 54 yards on 22 carries.
Even without Bennie Logan, the Eagles’ front four plugged up plenty of gaps and made the Giants a very one-dimensional team on offense. Unfortunately for them, that one dimension was very successful. Allowing more than a dozen yards in the final four minutes of the game was a minor killer, draining a decent amount of time off the clock and making the comeback effort a bit harder, but the stops came when they needed to.